Today seemed to be Monarch Sunday. My butterfly bushes were both alive with monarch butterflies today. On average there were six of them on the bushes at a time. At one point, I counted ten of them, busily eating and flying around. According to Wikipedia, “The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae), in the family Nymphalidae. It is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies”.
The butterflies that I see in my garden today will only live 2 to 6 weeks. Their purpose is to eat, mate and lay eggs. The generation of butterflies that will be born in September-October are the lucky ones. They are the ones who migrate to either California or Mexico and they live 6 to 8 months. They start the life cycle over again next year. For a better explanation of the life cycle of a monarch butterfly, see – http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/.
According to monarch-butterfly.com, “Monarch butterflies are the only insect to migrate up to 2,500 miles to get out of the cold weather and hibernate. But not all monarch butterflies migrate; only the fourth generation of monarchs can migrate each year because the first three generations die after about six weeks from escaping their cocoons”.